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Royal College of Music appoints John Simpson Architects for £25m redevelopment

16 April 2015

An artist's impression of the new quad viewed from the cafe in the foyer

The Royal College of Music (RCM) has unveiled plans for a £25m redevelopment including two new concert halls.

The conservatoire in South Kensington, London, has appointed John Simpson Architects to work on the project and planning permission is being sought for works to start in 2016.

The new facilities will be built at the college’s main campus on Prince Consort Road, which also includes the newly restored Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall and the Britten Theatre.
The two proposed performance spaces will seat 150 and 90 people. There will also be additional practice rooms, new recording and broadcasting facilities and improved access and circulation around the site, including step-free access.

In addition, he RCM’s Museum of Music will benefit from a new permanent home.
Colin Lawson, director of the Royal College of Music, said: ‘This is a vital development for the RCM. We have always been a home for creative pioneers and our physical spaces must keep pace with our artistic ambitions.

‘The development of our courtyard space will radically enhance our facilities. John Simpson Architects provide an exceptional understanding of manipulation of space, light and material, and have designed a new building that will stand alongside and acknowledge the historic importance and quality of our original buildings.’

Lord Winston, chairman of the Royal College of Music, added: ‘John Simpson’s vision makes best use of the RCM’s space and was unanimously selected by the RCM Council.

‘In extending the language of the existing building, his design showcases a sensitive response to the RCM’s Victorian heritage. The proposed works will unlock the RCM’s potential and secure its long-term future as a world-leading music conservatoire.’
HRH the Prince of Wales has agreed to be patron of the RCM’s More Music campaign to fund the building development.

Mixed results for music education hubs, says NFER report

15 April 2015

The music education hubs established by the government three years ago have made good progress but will face persistent challenges as pupil numbers continue to rise, an independent report has concluded.

Key Data on Music Education Hubs 2014, published by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) in March, is based on information provided by the hubs in relation to their core roles.

The hubs were found to be addressing the aspiration to provide every child aged five to 18 with the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, reaching 39.7 per cent of pupils in Year 4 and 15.3 per cent of pupils in Years 1-6.

They were also found to be providing many pupils with opportunities to play and sing in ensembles, with a wide range of ensembles and groups provided in schools and at area level.

Areas highlighted for improvement included the potential for hubs to increase their engagement with special schools and other schools with higher than average proportions of pupils with special needs.

It was also noted that more could be done to encourage boys to take part in ensembles, and that the increasing size of the school population may pose future challenges.

The report said: ‘In conclusion, the hubs have clearly made a strong start in terms of their core roles, especially in relation to the amount and range of provision they offer, which has held steady or increased in their second year of operation.

‘However, they face continued challenges if they are to ensure effective progression and contribute to a high quality music education for an increasing number of pupils in future.’

The music education hubs were created in response to the 2011 National Plan for Music Education to provide access, opportunities and excellence in music education for all children and young people.

The hubs include schools – from primary to further education institutions – professional music organisations and arts organisations. They work in local areas to bring people together to create music education provision for children and young people.

Music teachers sceptical about online tuition, The Tutor Pages report shows 

10 April 2015

Music teachers are more sceptical than most other tutors about the idea of online tuition, a report has revealed.

The Tutor Pages, an online directory of UK private tutors for academic, languages and music tuition, carried out a survey of 400 tutors about the pros and cons of online tuition.

Of all the groups surveyed, music teachers (comprising singing and instrumental teachers) were the most likely to think online tuition was not appropriate for their subject.

Among the tutors who identified themselves as teaching exclusively musical instruments or singing, 16 per cent said they used an element of online tuition in their teaching.

Of those who were not using online teaching, 27 per cent said they would like to try it.

However, 81 per cent of music teachers agreed that ‘Technology can never be a substitute for the physical presence of the tutor’.

The respondents cited several barriers to successful online tuition, including the visual and auditory limitations of the internet and the importance of being able to make physical adjustments to posture.

One respondent commented: ‘Music tuition is not just about imparting knowledge and technique. It is about building rapport, friendship and in many cases becoming a mentor and counsellor to the pupils.
‘This is especially true in singing teaching, where the voice is intrinsically linked to the emotions and state of mind of the pupil.’

Another said: ‘Results are certain to be possible but in instrumental teaching they won't compare with being in the same room as a fine teacher.’

Overall, around 80 per cent of respondents said they used Skype to tutor online. These tutors reported a number of advantages, such as flexibility in lesson scheduling and no travel costs.

Youth Music awards £6.8m of funding to education projects across the UK

9 April 2015

Project supported by Youth Music

Youth Music has announced new grant awards worth £6.8m as part of its recently refreshed grants programme.

The charity has awarded funding to 80 organisations in England supporting a wide range of projects, from a music programme for young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to a choir project for young carers.
Matt Griffiths, chief executive of Youth Music, said: ‘The grant awards will provide thousands of opportunities to support young people’s lifelong engagement with music.

‘Our focus on the development of personal and social skills, as well as musicality, will ensure that many of the participants attending Youth Music projects will have a life-changing experience.’
The grants include awards to 13 strategic partner organisations which will work with Youth Music to help it achieve its aims. They include Sage Gateshead in the North East, which is set to receive £160,000 a year for up to three years.
Steve Jinski, head of youth participation at Sage Gateshead, said: ‘This funding will enable us to provide sustained musical provision for young people who would not otherwise have the opportunity.

‘Our focus will be on those who are not in employment, education or training, those who are looked after and those with special educational needs.

‘It will enable us to make real progress not just in terms of music-making but also in helping participants to become more confident and resilient, qualities that can be carried into all aspects of their lives.’

Other organisations that will receive funding include ADHD Solutions CIC in Leicester, which has been awarded £17,400 for a music project focused on children with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Youth Music supports projects around the country that provide music-making opportunities for children and young people facing significant challenges in their lives.

The charity has recently restructured its grant-making process following a review by Arts Council England, led by Derek Avis, in light of the new National Plan for Music Education.


Two charities awarded 2015/16 Rhinegold Charity Fund

8 April 2015

Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) and Live Music Now have been named joint recipients of 2015/16’s Rhinegold Charity Fund, offering £10,000 of advertising across Rhinegold’s classical music and education publications, websites and services.
Rhinegold Charity Fund chairman Stephen Turvey said: ‘We have chosen YCAT and Live Music Now because, although significantly different in their focus, we passionately believe in the work of both charities. We also felt that their thoughtful and detailed applications clearly demonstrated a strategic and organisational maturity that would fully make use of the support offered by the fund.’

Both recipients spoke of the impact they hoped the charity fund would have on their organisations: YCAT’s chief executive Alasdair Tait said: ‘The impact and profile the fund provides will directly benefit our exceptional young artists at a crucial point in their career, whilst introducing YCAT’s unique work to a wider, international audience.’; with Ian Stoutzker, founder chairman of Live Music Now, adding: ‘We hope that working with Rhinegold will give us the opportunity to publicly celebrate our wonderful musicians, and encourage more people to become involved in this important and ground-breaking work.’

Entries for the 2016/17 Charity Fund will open in autumn 2015. The fund is open to all charities within the music industry; full details will be available from www.rhinegold.co.uk/fund.

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